Poems by James Wagner 
Art by Bracha L. Ettinger

Published 6/12/2014

Poems to paintings by Bracha L. Ettinger

 Bracha L. Ettinger, EURYDICE, THE GRACES, MEDUSA. 50 × 43.5 cm, oil on canvas, 2006–2012. © Courtesy of Bracha L. Ettinger Studio

Bracha L. Ettinger, EURYDICE, THE GRACES, MEDUSA. 50 × 43.5 cm, oil on canvas, 2006–2012. © Courtesy of Bracha L. Ettinger Studio

XXI

I know the skeleton’s asleep.

A fox faces us as a man

on the right, or the rose

lifted for the two to

 

dream back again

to trembling. The water

is all fear of fear,

dribbling shy of

 

the white knives

above the plum

accoutrements. If one

came in without a face,

 

witnessed this

diluted abuse,

we would turn and spurn

the girl in the wall.


 Bracha L. Ettinger, EURYDICE, THE GRACES, DEMETER. 50 × 41 cm, oil on canvas, 2006–2012. © Courtesy of Bracha L. Ettinger Studio

Bracha L. Ettinger, EURYDICE, THE GRACES, DEMETER. 50 × 41 cm, oil on canvas, 2006–2012. © Courtesy of Bracha L. Ettinger Studio

XXVII

Direct these lungs, bungler,

the way they say the mountains call

us to fall down her frown.

Bony knees appealingly lead

 

to mischief, a quiet, or

a dire lady squinting for love.

I arrived by neither window,

avoiding the therapy the Chinese

 

advocated. I felt something

sicken. A desert resolved

around us. They lit the purple

balloons in a winter no one

 

saw so far, or still sees.

Pleasant fecklessness,

some dark tune about New

Orleans. It was in the ribs,

 

that unclottable longing,

so there was nothing

one could say anymore

to a face.


 Bracha L. Ettinger, EURYDICE, THE GRACES, PERSEPHONE. 50 × 43.5 cm, oil on canvas, 2006–2012. © Courtesy of Bracha L. Ettinger Studio

Bracha L. Ettinger, EURYDICE, THE GRACES, PERSEPHONE. 50 × 43.5 cm, oil on canvas, 2006–2012. © Courtesy of Bracha L. Ettinger Studio

XXXIII

The homeless on bicycles, following their feelings,

to the river bottoms where their

camps answer these saintly flags.

 

To the screaming in the trees, to the violet

harbor.

 

An oblong fascination with your twinship,

as if beyond the staring there was a fertile

 

misunderstanding. One to water.

I can’t salt your hate here.

I tire of it all. The little leopard circles

 

argue against any atlas, lights on and off.

Remembering Acadia and Ativan,

imposters in folding chairs, dipping

their chins in what was a mysterious sun.

 

  Photo by Harold Abramowitz

Photo by Harold Abramowitz

James Wagner is the author of Thrown (There Press, order here), Work Book (Nothing Moments), Trilce (Calamari Press), the false sun recordings (3rd bed), and several chapbooks, including Geisttraum—Tales from the Germans and The Idiocy: Plays. His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in The American Poetry ReviewThe Baffler,Boston ReviewFence6x6Zoland Poetry and elsewhere. He lives in California.  
(Updated Jun. 2014)

  Photo by Ania Krupiakov

Photo by Ania Krupiakov

Bracha L. Ettinger is a visual artist, philosopher, and theoretician of French feminist psychoanalysis. Recent solo exhibitions at: the Historical Museum of St. Petersburg, Peter and Paul Fortress (2013); Museum of Fine Arts (Beaux-arts), Angers (2011); Tapies Foundation, Barcelona (2011), Freud Museum, London (2009). Recent group exhibitions at: Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2013-2014); Pompidou Centre, Paris (2010-2011). She is the author of Matrix. Halal(a) - Lapsus, MOMA oxford (1993) and The Matrixial Borderspace, University of Minnesota Press (2006). 
(Updated Jun. 2014)